Caverna: The Cave Farmers

Caverna

  • Fun factor –  7/10
  • Replay value – 10/10
  • Components – 8/10
  • Learning Curve – 3/10

 

Fun Factor: Caverna is quite a game, it is huge in concept and scale and really has lots of stuff going on all of which are fun. I like this game more than almost any of Uwe Rosenberg’s other games personally. I love that food isn’t as big a deal in this one, it’s still required but it’s much easier to get and deal with on the whole. The game is always compared to Agricola and for good reason it’s basically a sequel and it’s much better in every way. The theme is way better, the gameplay is more streamlined, everything.

Now for the problems, first and for most if you find yourself competing for a resource with another player you both lose for it. I really dislike this because it means that me and another player who want to use the same strategy are going to be in a world of hurt while the 3rd player just cruises by. That just rubbed me the wrong way. Felt like a 1v1v1 match of StarCraft or something where 2 players lose and the last just mops up. I also found that adventuring was a little weird because of the “catch up” mechanic in it. I was the first player to get an adventurer and because of this my adventurer was the worst one of them all for the rest of the game. At some point there are enough adventure spots (in 3 player games) to allow everyone to go adventure and “level up” their family member, this makes it difficult to stop players from constantly making their adventurer better. All in all I think this was the feature of the game I was most excited for and it turned out to be my least favorite part of actual gameplay.

Replay Value: Man so many options here. I can’t begin to even imagine how many times I would have to play this game to have a “repeat game” and by that time I wouldn’t mind a repeat game anyway so it’s pretty awesome. This is also one of my favorite ways to have replay value in a game, it’s not from having random cards or random dice rolls or anything random really. It’s purely from having so many different strategy options that you could play 100 times with different strategies and they would all most likely work really well. I have utterly no complaints about the replay value here, some people will not like the lack of 100s of randomly drawn cards or a lack of dice but I love it.

Components: The good side here is going to be quick, all the components in this game are great! It’s just that simple. Sadly, there is a downside, if you plan on organizing this game with anything other than like 2 dozen baggies it just doesn’t fit in the box nicely. I was very sad about this because this box is so large. I had to basically let the box not quite close all the way to make it so that I could keep everything nicely stored and organized in a way that makes playing actually work well.  If you put everything in baggies it will all fit but setup and cleanup of the game are going to be hellish. My box it unclosed by just a little bit (1/2 inch maybe) and it works nicely enough but this is the reason that the components aren’t 10/10.

Learning Curve: This game is huge, it has so much to learn and honestly almost memorize. It’s pretty easy to wrap your head around the basic worker placement idea of the game. But if you want to ever win you need to have so much more knowledge of each and every piece of the center board and have a pretty clear strategy right out the gate. After my first play through I made 2nd place thanks to a single wrong placement (costing me a total of 10 points). The time it will take you to get even pretty okay at this game is going to be huge. It’s worth it but it does bring this score down for me some. I like a game to take a bit of effort to master but to be this much just to really be at the ballpark much less playing well hampers this score for me.

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